Moving to the UK

Everything you need to know

Moving to the UK is an exciting life event whether it be a short-term move for work to explore business prospects or a more permanent relocation with the whole family; the UK offers an eclectic range of options to live, work and learn, from the cityscapes of London to vineyards in the English countryside and historic university towns in-between. Setting up life in a new country can feel daunting too and it can be difficult to know where to start.

Wherever you are on your journey to the UK the Private Wealth team at Forsters are here to guide you through the process and to advise you on how to make the move as seamless as possible. From Singapore to Brazil, the US to the Middle East – we also have in-depth experience of integrating UK issues into a global cross-border wealth plan.

Our Moving to the UK hub provides you with an introductory resource to understand the need to know issues, including the *UK’s approach to income tax, visas and buying property, along with key terminology and FAQs.

Please do get in touch with our team to find out more.

The UK tax system is complex, ever more so when combined with worldwide assets and travel from aboard. Undertaking pre-arrival tax planning in advance of a move, will enable you to take advantage of available tax reliefs and ensure your affairs are arranged as efficiently as possible.

Watch Private Client Partner, Emma Gillies’s video to find out more:

Key Guides

A guide to pre-arrival tax planning

Read our guide to the key UK tax rules that need to be considered in advance of moving to the UK. The guide provides a helpful introduction to terminology including:

  • becoming UK tax resident
  • the remittance basis
  • domicile.

Tax FAQs

Will I be UK tax resident from the day I arrive in the UK?

Will I be subject to tax on my worldwide income and gains if I become tax resident in the UK?

What factors other than citizenship will be taken into account in determining my domicile status and, if I do become UK domiciled, can I reverse the position?

By becoming a non-resident in the UK, do I escape the tax net?

Finding the perfect property to live in whilst in the UK will be a top priority for most, not only will it become the place you call home it can also become a valuable investment. There are unique complexities to buying luxury residential property in England & Wales particularly as an overseas buyer – we provide an overview of the key issues along with some top tips.

Watch Residential Partner, Helen Marsh’s video to find out more:

Key Guides:

A guide to buying residential property in England & Wales

Five top tips for international buyers

Mortgages for overseas buyers

A guide to residential new builds in the UK

Buying Property FAQs

What is the difference between a freehold and leasehold property?

Can I make alterations to my leasehold property?


Why is the UK such an attractive place for international buyers? There are a wide range of factors which include the stability of English Law, the advantageous time zone and the schooling system.

Watch Residential Partner, Charles Miéville’s video to find out more:

Read more of Charles's insights as to why international buyers continue to seek UK homes despite UK economy concerns, in this article originally published in Abode2 magazine.

Avoiding unwanted tax liabilities when buying a home in the UK.

Head of Private Client, Xavier Nicholas shares his insights on the tax implications of acquiring a home in the UK, including inheritance tax (IHT) planning options.

If you are moving to the UK as a couple or family, it is important to understand your individual legal rights to property and any children you may have, in the unfortunate event of the relationship breaking down.

The treatment of arrangements such as nuptial or cohabitation agreements made overseas may be different in England and Wales. Equally, if such arrangements have not yet been made, a move to the UK can be the impetus to put these in place in order to help protect your position. This is particularly important as England is considered very generous in terms of divorce provision and a spouse could bring claims after a period of living here.

Watch Family Partner, Dickon Ceadel’s video to find out more:

Key Guides:

International aspects to a nuptial agreement

Family FAQs

Will my prenup be valid when I move to England?

One of the most fundamental steps required to moving to the UK will be to obtain the necessary rights for you and any family members to live and work here as a non-UK national. In the first instance you’ll need to determine which visa is the most suitable for your circumstances, whilst in the long run ensuring the requirements are met to enable prolonged and permanent residence to be secured.

We advise and co-ordinate on all stages of our clients’ relocations to the UK, from initial visa applications and renewals, to applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK and British Citizenship by naturalisation.

Watch Private Client Partner, Alfred Liu’s video to find out more.

Key Guides:

UK Immigration and VISA strategy

Understand the key requirements for the following visa applications and options for securing more permanent residence in the UK:

  • Tier 1 (Investor) VISA - existing holders and renewals
  • Family VISA for spouses or partners of british citizens
  • Hong Kong BN(O) VISA
  • British citizenship by naturalisation.

Immigration FAQs

Can I come into the UK as a visitor and work or carry out business?

I assume I can't get naturalised as a British citizen and obtain a passport if I
want to remain non-domiciled?

What’s the impact on my Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) if I leave the UK to
take up a new role?

If you are moving to the UK for employment, whether it be a new role or on secondment by an overseas employer, you will want to ensure the terms of your employment are structured with your cross-border requirements in mind. It is strongly advisable to seek independent advice beyond any services provided by your employer as only then will your best interests be prioritised within the wider context of your personal circumstances.

On the flip side you may have a requirement to employ your own staff for business or domestic purposes and it will be crucial to understand your requirements as a UK employer.

Key Guide:

A guide to employing domestic staff in the UK.

In this guide, Employment Partner, Joe Beeston, provides an essential overview of the key legal considerations for a new domestic employer when hiring staff such as housekeepers, nannies and gardeners.

Employment FAQs

I’ve been offered a new role in the UK: what are the key terms that I should expect to see and which should I try to negotiate?

This FAQ sets out the following UK employment contract considerations:

  • Role
  • Salary and economic terms
  • Other benefits
  • Notice periods
  • Restrictive covenants.

What are the key employment law differences that I should be aware of?

I hear that it can be a common practice to have dual employment contracts: one
in the UK, and the other abroad. What's this all about?

What type of incentive share plans are typically offered to senior executives in
the UK?

My employer has indicated that they no longer require me to work in the UK – what should I think about?

Individuals moving to the UK from the US, or with other connections to the US, will have particularly complex issues to deal with due to the way the two jurisdictions interact, particularly for tax purposes. It is essential to obtain integrated US/UK cross-border advice on the tax and legal implications of moving to the UK as the traps can be particularly common and severe.

Forsters’ has a team of specialist UK lawyers experienced in advising on US/UK cross-border matters, including personal tax, trust and estate planning.

A Guide for US Purchasers of UK Residential Property

When acquiring UK property, aside from seeking legal support on conveyancing, US purchasers should seek specialist advice on the broader tax and legal implications. Taking advice from the outset will enable pro-active planning and help to avoid costly future mitigation.

Relocating to the UK will be a significant and exciting milestone for you and your family. Our Private Wealth lawyers are not only well placed to advise you on the relocation itself but also on the wider long-term impact on your family's succession and estate planning requirements.

Discover what other issues you and your family need to consider at other key milestones in life and how Forsters can support you to achieve your ambitions.

Visit our private wealth microsite

Contact Us

For further information on any of the topics covered or to find out how we can support you with your relocation to the UK please contact any member of the team listed above or email [email protected].

*Disclaimer - this guide provides a general summary of the legal position in England and Wales. Please note that it does not constitute legal advice.

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